Review of Rebecca Lemov, World as Laboratory, New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.
Social engineering was funded by Rockefeller grants of several billion dollars (in today’s money) beginning in the 1920s. Beardsley Ruml articulated the vision of joining the various social sciences into a results-oriented synthesis for population control. Out of these experiments came the modern focus group with the one-way mirror, mass polling, the polygraph, and mental tests for motivation, intelligence, loyalty, and aptitude. Psychologists learned how to monitor and quantify inner states, then how to create the state they wanted through stimulus-response conditioning. Later, drug experiments, psychosurgery, and cultural anthropology were added to the arsenal of techniques of control. More recently, mind-machine combinations and interactions, nanotechnology, and bioengineering were added to the psychological control arsenal.
The line of psychological research from Pavlov to transhumanism is a search for effective conditioning methods that will enable the elites to build the global police state.
In the initial phase, the psychologists were under the influence of Freud and Pavlov and attempted to combine psychoanalysis with behaviorism. The Yale University Institute of Human Relations was the site of the pioneering experiments. But soon Freudian theory was found to be useless and faulty, so the psychologists built behavioral psychology on the basis of Pavlov’s conditioning.
Jacques Loeb initiated the discipline of bioengineering by creating two-headed worms and reversing the position of the mouth and anus of hydras, without knowledge of genetics. In Dynamics of Living Matter, Loeb recorded his results from stimulating plants and animals with light, chemicals, gravity, electricity, and other forces. Heliotropism (orientation toward light) was understood as a purely instinctive reaction of the organism. Loeb conceived of his plants and animals as chemical machines, and he extrapolated the concept to higher animals. This removed desire and will from human behavior. Loeb redefined instincts as mechanical stimulus-response reactions.
Loeb also discovered artificial birth by changing the acidity of seawater, the environment for sea urchin eggs. The eggs began to divide and reproduce simply from the acidic stimulus. Immediately Loeb, and others, began to dream of test-tube babies and raising children on collective farms. The birth control pill was developed from Loeb’s pioneering work.
The most famous behavioral psychologist, John B. Watson, was a student of Loeb. By the time Watson began his research, the idea of engineering living creatures had taken hold of the social sciences.
John B. Watson became a prominent futurist and took psychological conditioning to the advertising agency of J. Walter Thompson. Watson approached his science as pure observation of behavior without any theorizing about mental states. He influenced John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, and George Herbert Mead and a generation of (pro-New World Order) followers. Watson’s experiments on white rats in mazes were quickly extrapolated to humans and became the basis of a science of engineering human behavior in public spaces.
Several movements drew from this new experimental knowledge: the Bauhaus, Constructivism, Purism, the Technical Alliance, and various utopian organizations. Watson also experimented on human subjects and used electric shocks to condition behavior. Behaviorism became the leading way of predicting and controlling human behavior. Watson explicitly did away with the idea of consciousness and any dividing line between human and animal. Conditioning to habit became the primary means of controlling people.
Watson experimented on babies and made babies fear their favorite pets by making a loud noise every time the child touched the pet. Eventually Watson took to Madison Avenue the secret of controlling the consumer: Present him with an already emotionally conditioned stimulus, and he will buy. That is why you see happy people or celebrities in advertisements instead of information about the product. The consumer is already emotionally linked to the image of happiness and the authority of the celebrity, and the ad’s association of existing emotional associations with the product is sufficient to stimulate sales.
This was the end of the intellectual appeal to the masses and the beginning of the era of the emotional appeal. The emotional appeal works best when linked with an image. After World War II the psychological elites controlled Europe and America by image associations, and literacy was downgraded. That is why the educational elites (the Communist educational psychologists working out of the UN) have insisted on federal control over education and the computer as the primary tool of educational brainwashing.
Watson also wrote books about childrearing designed to break the mother-child love connection. Before Benjamin Spock’s radical permissivism, the Rockefeller researchers agreed upon a new way to condition children’s behavior away from the authority of the parent.
Beardsley Ruml dispensed the Rockefeller money through the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial and oriented the social sciences toward human engineering. The idea was, everyone’s reality could be changed and controlled.
The tax-exempt foundations did not need tax relief because there was no income tax. Their aim was to reorganize and control society. The foundations next sponsored F.W. Taylor’s industrial efficiency methods on the industrial assembly line. They used the term “social welfare,” but it always meant social engineering.
The psychologists rationalized their research by believing they were working under the values of democratically elected officials and thus were a necessary link between the leaders and the masses. This was hypocrisy because the democratically elected leaders were not looped in on the studies and did not make rational decisions about their applications.
Instead the research was taken to leaders of industry, education, and the military and was sold to them in terms of cost-benefit. The social scientists had no respect for any society, with its existing norms and authority structures, but instead assumed a mass society amenable to their manipulation.
However, it is difficult to do research on human groups, and so these researchers experimented on animals and extrapolated the results to humans. As research progressed, the experimental set-up switched from studies of individual rats to studies of more than one rat at a time. This was their model of society.
Many of these experiments had negative outcomes for the experimental children, and parents had to rescue their children from the experimenters. But the experimenters avoided prosecution and ethical oversight and managed to become authorities in “child welfare.” Any foundation or clinic devoted to “child welfare” was probably formed to perpetuate this experimentation.
The idea of breaking childhood socialization patterns by stimulus-response conditioning was successful, but the experimenters faced the problem of removing human value and replacing it with nothing. The psychologists then had to invent value-linked conditional stimuli to keep people from merely drifting through a maze of conditioning. The maze of conditioning then became a metaphor for society, or for human life.
The Hawthorne experiments (conducted by Ruml’s student Elton Mayo) showed that assembly-line workers increased their productivity whenever they were consulted about their working conditions and had an opportunity to change them. From this industrial psychology developed the “team” or “family” concept, with various psychological interventions available to counsel the troubled worker and eliminate unwanted behaviors. Matching of psychological profiles with job descriptions (career counseling) also developed from this approach.
Mayo considered himself a functionalist, someone who adjusts the multiple human parts to the functioning whole of the industrial system. The beauty of his approach was that human behavior was being adjusted without any overt coercion. Managers today typically use a “buy-in” rather than a coercive approach. This phase of the research was devoted to adjustment and getting workers to accept management’s policies. It lasted until the start of the Great Depression, but this psychological approach is still at the center of corporate human management policies.
Rockefeller then extended a $12 million grant to the Yale Institute of Human Relations. The money was supposed to be used to study social problems: juvenile delinquency, mental illness, crime, family problems. The approach was multidisciplinary. The central organizing theme was exploration of higher mental processes to discover how they are determined by conditional reflexes.
The leading theoretician was Clark Leonard Hull. Hull believed that mental operations lying between the stimulus and the response were the key to human behavior. Hull conceptualized the conditioned inhibition, trial and error, anticipatory defense reaction, short-circuit, anticipatory goal reaction, and habit-family hierarchies of mental response. Hull also worked on how various responses linked into chains of response.
(A great way to undo mental conditioning is to study Hull’s categories of mental response and consciously break existing brainwashing.)
Hull had discovered the atoms of thought (in terms of conditioned reflex) and how they could be combined to produce behavior. Hull believed that he could engineer thinking through conditioning. This was a very scientific approach to understanding human behavior, and Hull further quantified his concepts with equations. This quantification of human mental responses in terms of equations and models fit well with industrial psychology. Eventually it led to the invention of thinking machines.
This idea of mental machines also influenced modern art. Surrealism was inspired by the relation between the mechanical and the biological at the time these ideas were being formulated. Much of Surrealism is devoted to mind-machine interactions or body-machine interactions.
Hull was elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1937.
Hull’s research rebutted any idea of higher human faculties. Hull explained behavior without choice, self, or thought. He collapsed the distinction between thought and idea. Actions and ideas are not different, they are two responses to subconscious learned reactions. Cybernetics and computer programming developed from these ideas.
O. Hobart Mowrer developed behavioral feedback. He used the technique to cure bedwetting. Mowrer personally suffered from spatial distortion and he studied spatial distortion in pigeons by inducing it. Mowrer then proceeded to link a flash of light with an electric shock in human subjects. He discovered that he could induce maximum anxiety in the subject by flashing the light without administering the shock. Mowrer invented the coercive stimulus concept and tried to use the anxiety response as a mechanism for conditioning behavior.
What really came out of this experiment was the knowledge that one could ratchet up anxiety by continued use of stimulus to the point of mental breakdown. Multiple continuing threats are more dreaded than actual physical torture. The experimental subject often experienced the pain of torture as a relief from anxiety about torture. Mowrer then figured out that he could induce anxiety through symbols of threats rather than actual threats, and the subconscious mind would process both types of threats in the same way. Mowrer then turned his attention to motivated learning under threat conditions. These results were then taken into classroom teaching methods, psychotherapy, and criminal interrogation.
Although it seems obvious that threats can produce behavior change, Mowrer used his knowledge of paired stimuli that induce conditioned responses to manipulate both stimulus and response. The beauty of this approach is that people can be conditioned by small, apparently nonthreatening symbolic stimuli if they have been conditioned by repeated paired stimuli.
Mowrer understood the mind as the internalization of the environmental stimulus. Internal replications of external events often become “more real” than what is actually happening in the environment at a given time. This idea led to mental events as simulations of real events. From this idea developed simulation technology, which then moved into training programs and video games and the invention of virtual reality.
(Hooking the public on information appliances is now almost totally completed. This means, the vast majority of the population believe virtual reality is superior to reality.)
The most important principle of this research was that a disorienting environment will cause anxiety, and the anxiety will cause the individual to search for a way to neutralize any threat and change his behavior. All kinds of manipulators use the threat of “shock”—any large unwelcome stimulus—to create anxiety and change behavior. Mowrer believed that merely the threat of trauma induced an anxiety-reaction feedback mechanism that changed behavior. This insight was of enormous value to political leaders who wanted to stimulate large-scale behavioral change by provoking mass anxiety.
Mowrer took his knowledge base into the CIA and used it to create stress tests as training for agents. He then came under the influence of the group-therapy model of Harry Stack Sullivan. When he returned to academia, Mowrer organized groups of psychology students into encounter groups. Mowrer discovered that confession of one’s sins and a promise to reform one’s actions improved psychological health. Mower’s group therapy approach was taken into Alcoholics Anonymous, Synanon, and other drug-therapy groups. All group therapy today is based on the Communist “self-confession” model.
Mowrer became a spokesman for the branch of psychology that labeled America a “sick society” and urged confession as a therapy. At the same time, the Communists had already perfected the confession and the false confession as internalized control mechanisms promoting conformity. Mowrer came to believe that society prevented the individual expression of free will by forming a conditioning environment. Mowrer blamed Martin Luther (Bondage of the Will) for creating a Protestant iron cage of guilt that induced negative emotions, particularly guilt. Himself given to bouts of anxiety, he learned to reproduce the emotion in others under laboratory conditions, then projected the anxiety response on the entire society, then formed “leaderless” encounter groups to express and share suffering stemming from anxiety.
This is how psychological therapies became part of the closed loop of mass psychological brainwashing.